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No matter how many times I watch an episode of” Second Generation Wayans,” I just cannot get into it.  The show’s wardrobe stylist dresses Tatyana Ali like a soft porn star, most of the lines delivered by George O. “Junior” Gore II defy the golden rule that good writing is showing, not telling (His lines are like, “I am opening a door.  I am going to walk through it. Now I am closing it.  I am so talented, and no one knows it.”). The real Wayans are the most attractive, but least pungent characters and the general plot lacks the universal storytelling that makes a TV show a classic.

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The show is almost good, yet not quite–in a way that first sitcom that Bill Cosby created was almost good. But more on that later. ‘Second Generation Wayans” reminds me of how much I miss the days when there were black scripted shows that set the tone for “good” across the board. What’s not good? The show trying to be comedy and drama, when it reads like it wants to be just drama–which is a break from what you think of when you hear “Wayans.” It would be good if it leaned a little more towardEntourage.”  They could take a note from LMFAO, (Berry Gordy legacy) and be standout heirs that cue to youth trends.

We are so many years since the 1990s golden age of black television that it can seem that black viewers do not always notice the sharp decline in TV writing since “Family Matters,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Martin,” “Living Single,” “Sister, Sister” and “Girlfriends” aired on basic network television. Well, perhaps not. Neilsen reports that the top-viewed scripted shows by African-American viewers in February 2013 are Scandal,”Person of Interest” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Quality is noticed. “Scandal,” today’s goddess of scripted television, works hard on writing, acting, editing, styling and research and we as viewers appreciate the effort of quality. This show is halfway there.I never thought that we could be alive today and flip through channels and not see a Wayans production tag stamped all over the place the way the names Carsey/Werner popped up on everything in the 1990s. It is funny, because I believed in the supremacy of the Wayans family way more than I expected a black president.

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While cable channels are airing shows featuring Blacks in primary roles, I notice that Black-owned networks cannot compete in great comedy writing. While people like W. Kamau BellKeegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are setting the comedic mean on other networks appealing to a cult segment, the black-owned legacy that was hinted at in the early era of Eddie MurphyRobert Townsend and Keenan Ivory Wayans has not come into institutionalization.  And that fact makes a show called “Second Generation Wayans” ironic.

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